ONONDAGA — Nearly 3,000 walkers and runners braved the cold conditions at the 2019 Syracuse Heart Walk, held on March 23 at the Onondaga Community College campus.
The 35th anniversary event raised about $600,000, according to a news release from the Syracuse office of the American Heart Association (AHA).
Pre-event activities were held inside the SRC Arena, including blood-pressure screenings, healthy demonstrations, a fun run for kids, and entertainment.
Over the past three decades of the Heart Walk in Syracuse, the community has raised more than $7 million for “lifesaving research, education, training, and advocacy programs,” the AHA said. Donations help create new technologies such as the artificial heart valve, cholesterol drugs, stents, and the mechanical heart pump, which helps extend the life of patients.
“While we are celebrating the 35th anniversary of the Heart Walk, the event is still focused on its initial assignment, funding groundbreaking research through the passion of walking together to change lives,” Leslie Paul Luke, 2019 Heart Walk chairman and president and CEO of St. Joseph’s Health, a corporate sponsor of the AHA, said in the release. “I am honored to serve and play a role in the promise of a better future for younger generations to live.”
St. Joseph’s Health had 260 participants in the Heart Walk, raising more than $53,000, according to the event website.
Since the Heart Walk started in 1985, mortality rates from cardiovascular disease and stroke in the U.S. have dropped by 45 percent, the AHA said. However, almost 800,000 Americans still die from cardiovascular disease annually, making it the No. 1 killer in the U.S.
The 2019 Syracuse Heart Walk was sponsored by St. Joseph’s Health, which sponsors its “Life is Why” initiative. Other major local sponsors included IBEW/NECA, KeyBank, WelchAllyn, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, HealtheConnections, Upstate Medical University, Wegmans, Crouse Health, and Barclay Damon. The media sponsors were B104.7, Business Journal News Network, and NewsChannel 9 WSYR.